Friday, February 29, 2008

Mama's New Ride

A few months ago I mentioned that we were getting a new car. Well, it's here and we are loving it! (BTW, this is the aforementioned fun post.) Here are a few pictures of our new toy...
The new car with all the bells and whistles. My favorite part is the automatic liftgate. At the push of a button, the back opens and closes. That's the only thing I was insistent upon. The driver's seat, showing off all the gears. We didn't get every bell and whistle but we got what we thought necessary.The rear, including a third row. Getting the kids in and buckled is so much easier now that we have a third row. Plus, we have seats for grandparents when they visit so that we only have to take one car. This picture is dedicated to Papa who wanted a picture of the inside before it got destroyed by children.And last, but not least, the one and only piece of flair on the car. I don't believe in crazy bumper stickers but I will allow this! Pay no attention to the dates on the sticker. I'm waiting on the new one.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Fun Post Delayed

The fun post I had planned for today didn't exactly happen so I'm hoping to get that done tomorrow. Enjoy your evening!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A Much-Needed Break

My mother-in-law (Gran) and I are providing the Wednesday night meal for our church tonight. Since I spent the majority of Thursday, Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday cooking, I decided to take a computer break yesterday. I didn't check email, log on to the internet, even look at any blogs. I really didn't have time but when the opportunity presented itself yesterday evening, I found that I didn't even want to. I just wanted the day off.

Most people who know me know that I'm an email junkie. I love email and checking out blogs daily. By the time I got to sit down last night, I was exhausted and had zero desire to stimulate my brain. I needed some down time.

I'll be back tomorrow with a really fun post so I'll see you then. In the meantime, if you're in need of yet another recipe, here's my recipe for Kitchen Sink Cookies.

Kitchen Sink Cookies
1/2C (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2C shortening
1C packed brown sugar
1/2C sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1tsp vanilla
1-1/2C flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp allspice
3C oats, uncooked (I use the quick-cooking, not instant)
1/2C raisins or sweetened, dried cranberries
1/2C white chocolate chips
1/2C chocolate chips
1C pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and allspice. Set aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Add flour mixture to the sugar mixture slowly, so as not to create a cloud of white on your face and counters. Mix until just combined. Stir in oats, raisins, white chips, chocolate chips and pecans. Drop by tablespoonful on to ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (mine took 12). Allow to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Swedish Pancakes

S loves to make breakfast on the weekends. He has only a few menus in his arsenal, which is odd because he likes to experiment in the culinary world. However, his few menus are ones that all of the children will eat, including H.

This morning's breakfast was Swedish pancakes. They are similar to crepes but the batter isn't quite as thin and they are made in a special cast iron pan resulting in small, 2"-diameter pancakes. Traditionally, they are served with lingonberries or with a squeeze of lemon juice and a touch of powdered sugar. We serve them with various types of jellies and jams, whatever we happen to have in our fridge at the moment. They are also delicious with fresh fruit or berries. You could even add whipped cream for a real breakfast treat. Both K and L love them because they are small and L has been known to eat more of them than I.

Swedish Pancakes

3 eggs
1-1/4C milk
3/4C flour
1Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 Tbsp melted butter

Beat eggs until thick. Add milk, flour, sugar, salt and melted butter. Mix until smooth. Spread or pour batter unto hot buttered pan. Spread batter evenly to make thin pancakes the size of your frying pan. Turn when underside is light brown. Yield: 6 large pancakes.
This recipe is courtesy of a family friend

Friday, February 22, 2008


We are, quite unexpectedly, off of school today and it's raining so outside play isn't in the cards and the girls are getting cabin fever.

One fun thing we did this morning was make beignets. If you've ever been to New Orleans, you've heard of Cafe Du Monde. Oh, that place brings back such good memories. It's one of the best spots in the Quarter to people watch. The beignets are wonderful pillows of dough, fried to perfection, and covered with a mound of powdered sugar. Couple that with their chicory coffee or a cafe au lait (for those of you who drink coffee) and you've got a really special treat. You can now purchase their beignet mix at many grocery stores and they are really easy to make. We don't do it often as they are so sugary but it's really fun when we do.

If you find yourself in New Orleans, here are a few tips for eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde:
  1. You will, inevitably, wear black the day you decide to have these little treats. Lean way over your plate to avoid a massive powdered sugar spill.
  2. You will, without a doubt, get powdered sugar on you at some point. Just be prepared.
  3. Do not, I repeat, do not inhale when opening your mouth to take a bite of the beignet. You will choke on the powdered sugar.
  4. When you look at the menu and notice that there are only 3 beignets in each order, do not order one for each person. The 3 are plenty for two people to share unless one of you is pregnant and having one of her cravings.
  5. If you find yourself in need of a beignet at, say, 1:00 AM, have no fear. Cafe Du Monde is open 24 hours.
  6. Finally, no matter how hard you try, you will not be able to make beignets at home that taste just like the ones in New Orleans. Ambiance does a lot to the taste.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Blessing From Out of the Blue

Last night I got all the kids tucked into their beds and listened, momentarily, to the silence around me. I have been doing some reorganizing around the house and this includes going through our medicine cabinet and getting rid of all the things we don't use or are expired. As the trash can in my bathroom became overly full, I decided to just go ahead and take out the trash. What else would I be doing at 8:15 PM?

With a genuine loathing for taking out the trash, I'm not one to do this until I really have to. But I felt a prompting to do so and I took the bait. As I rounded our garage to put the very heavy bag into the garbage can, I looked up at the moon as the eclipse was underway.

It was so neat! I've never seen one that I remember before and I just sat there in awe of what I was seeing, feeling very small yet somehow protected. I moved a chair out to the back yard and sat for about 30 minutes just watching the moon get smaller and smaller as the Earth's shadow took over. I finally went inside just as the moon's glow went out (and because it was really cold by then).

I got a very unexpected blessing from taking out the trash!
(Author's note: I do not take credit for this photo. I tried, with my new camera, to get a decent shot but nothing came out right.)

A Forgotten L-ism

A few weeks ago, as we were visiting my family in my beautiful home town, L had a great line and I forgot about it until today. We were out to lunch and I ordered drinks for the girls (an Orangina). When the waiter brought the cups, L said, "What is it?" I told her it was juice and to drink it. She tasted it hesitantly and then a smile crept over her face as she proudly exclaimed, "I like my bubbly juice!"

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

You've Got Questions, Foy Has Answers

I received in the mail today my Auburn Alumni magazine. I've actually really enjoyed reading it and seeing what's going on at Auburn. They really do put hard work into the mag and create some really neat stories.

One little snippet caught my eye. It was the Foy Student Union question line. I had forgotten about this service that Foy provided. You see, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Auburn, you can call Foy and ask them any question and they'll give you the answer. This really works; you talk to a live person and they give you the answer you need. I remember calling them in school but don't remember my question. It was such fun. Well, the Today Show caught wind of this and it was featured on air in November. Oh, I wish I had seen it!

If you were like me and missed it, here's the You Tube link:

Enjoy and War Eagle!

Monday, February 18, 2008

L-ism of the Day

When Mama is sick and Daddy is heading that direction, cheese & crackers and a piece of fruit is about as good a dinner as you're going to get. So last night when K, in her whiniest voice, asked for more crackers, I responded with, "Would you like some cheese to go with your whine?"

L replied, "No; we want cheese to go with our crackers."

And the First One Off the Shelf Is...

...Playing for Pizza by John Grisham. Since I was slightly incapacitated on Sunday, it gave me time to finish one of the many books on Mama's book shelf. I started this book many months ago with every intention of finishing it quickly but something got in the way. (I'm gonna go with life on this one.)

Basically, this is the story of a washed up 3rd-string NFL quarterback and his quest for contentment. He plays football well enough in high school to go on to college ball and then to the NFL where he's bounced around until he finally lands himself a great spot: as the starting quarterback for the Parma Panthers. Yes, Parma as in Italy. The book is a coming together of football, food, and culture as Rick, our protagonist, discovers that life is more than just vying for the spotlight. Along the way, he meets many characters and finds himself looking at life from a different perspective.

So, if you like football, Italy and reading about Italian food and wine then I highly recommend this book. It won't make you think, it has no profound message but it is a great book to get lost in.

My Personal Favorite

Pictures From the Weekend (Finally!)

Actually these were taken on Friday but it was our weekend nonetheless. These were all taken just before H regurgitated his stomach contents at the dinner table. He did the same thing about an hour later while I was holding him on the sofa. He was in bed by 6:35.

Then it was K's turn. At 10:15 PM. Just as S and I had fallen asleep. So S dealt with her bed linens while I gave her a bath. She spent most of Saturday in front of the TV and in bed even though Saturday was a beautiful, glorious day. We had all the windows open, the sun was shining bright and we got several things done around the house, including linen changes for all the beds in the house (because of the night before).

My turn for the dreaded disease came around 3:00 AM Sunday morning. I spent all day in bed and started feeling better around 9:00 AM today. Ah, the joys of motherhood.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Comfort Isn't Just another 7-Letter Word

When I think about true comfort, I think of a hot bowl of homemade soup on a cold day. Curling up with a great book in front of a warm fire, covered by a quilt seasoned with years. I think of cuddles from all of my children as we read Fancy Nancy for the 86th time. Of a massage chair gently rubbing my back while I receive a much-needed pedicure. Of a warm brownie just from the oven with a cold glass of milk. Of fresh-from-the-dryer sheets and starched & ironed pillowcases. (If you've never ironed and starched your pillowcases, don't knock it until you've tried it.) Sliding into those soft sheets at the end of a long day just envelopes all my senses and I'm able to finally let go of all the stresses of the day.

There are plenty of days when I don't feel needed at all, that I'm just a cook, a person to do the laundry and make sure the house is presentable. If the dishes piled up and the laundry never got done and put away, only then would someone notice that I was missing. K, L, H, and S, in his own way, do need me for more than just maid service. As a mother and wife, I want to provide a nurturing environment for my family. I want them to know that they are safe here, that nothing will hurt them while I'm around. That is, of course, if your sister refrains from hitting you with her Barbie magic wand.

This safety, this comfort comes to us as well in the form of Jesus Christ. He is our ultimate comfort. We're told to lay down our burdens, He will carry us through them. We're told in Psalm 139 that He follows us wherever we are: the depths, the heights, the wings of the morning, lands across the sea. He's there to uphold us, to sustain us no matter what the circumstances. He says in Isaiah 41:10, "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (emphasis mine). Our burden is His burden. Our sins were bought and paid for on the cross.

We're to run to Him, as a child to a father. We are His children and He loves us as such. I've always imagined myself running to Him, curling up in His lap, His loving arms wrapped around me.

That, to me, is the ultimate picture of comfort.

Big Boy!

I neglected to mention that H went for his 9 month checkup yesterday and he is doing so well. He's in the 75th percentile for height and weight for babies his age. But if you factor in his prematurity, he's in the 97th percentile for his weight and 85th for height. So here's to our big boy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Girls

I realized that I take more pictures of H than I do of the girls because he is more readily available for pictures than they are. I try so hard to be fair but it's hard when he looks at me with his big blue eyes and beckons me to grab my camera and take as many shots as I dare. So here are a few pictures of our sweet girls, precious and wonderful, lovely blessings.


K and L got these adorable lunchboxes from Gran and Granddad for Christmas. They were carried all the way from Ireland and aren't available in the U.S. The lunchboxes were a huge hit but my favorite pieces were the porcelain plates, cups and bowls inside the lunchboxes. Very sweet.

Lessons from the Kitchen

Do not, under any circumstances, add marsala wine to a roasting pan to give a chicken flavor. It will cause your oven door to blow open.

Leave ricotta gnocchi to the professionals. There are some things that shouldn't be attempted at home.

When warming hot fudge sauce in the microwave, be sure to use pot holders to remove it from said microwave. Failure to do so can cause burns on the skin and hot fudge sauce to land on the cabinet above the refrigerator.

Double bag the turkey when you brine it. This is the best way to avoid brine on the ceiling.

When you fry anything, make sure your pan is plenty deep. Shallow pans are not good to use in frying situations.

When slicing onions, or any vegetable for that matter, it's best to cut only the onion and not your thumb.

Always, ALWAYS, measure a pan before you try to bake a cake. 10" looks just like 12" to the naked eye.

Don't let your husband attempt to flambe anything. This sets off the smoke alarm and scares the children.

Let your children help in the kitchen. This is the best way to teach them and it gives you time to do important things like painting your nails and pottying. Plus, it helps them master the art of cooking and you can enlist their assistance when they are older to cook dinner for you instead of with you.

Buy a food magazine, such as Bon Appetit, and pick out one recipe to try, preferably something you would never attempt in a million years. You really learn a lot that way and end up with some really good food in the end (or not, as in the case of the ricotta gnocchi).

If your husband loves his mother's cooking, ask her for a few of her recipes and surprise him by making them. He'll appreciate the effort even if it doesn't taste exactly like hers.

Invest in two things for your kitchen: really good cookware and at least one really good knife. This is money well spent and these items last for a lifetime.

Finally, when in doubt, order out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

L-ism of the Day

I realize it's been awhile since I've posted and I do have things to tell but I don't have time at the moment. I have a couple of blogs in the works, one on comfort and one on lessons from the kitchen.

In the meantime, enjoy these few L-isms heard over the last few days.

Nana: Are you going to come visit me at school and play with the Smart Board?
L: Yes, but I want to play with the smart girls.

S gave me a hug the other day and L came up to us, wrapped her arms around both of our legs and said, "I love you guys. These are L hugs."

Me: L are you a mess?
L: (very enthusiastically) Yes!

L, in her room playing with her Ariel doll, singing "some day I'll be part of your world." I think we've seen that movie one too many times.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dimpled Hands

Dimpled hands
Those dear little hands
Belonging to my son
Dimpled hands
Those cute little hands
Exploring the world around them

Dimpled hands
Those tiny little hands
Growing, growing every day
Dimpled hands
Those fat little hands
Splashing, splashing in the tub

Dimpled hands
Those sweet little hands
Reaching out to Mama
Dimpled hands
Those precious little hands
Touching my face, my hands, my heart

L-ism of the Day

"Look! It's froggy outside!"
In reference to the fog covering the ground this morning.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Is It Monday Already?

Where did the weekend go? As a matter of fact, where did the week go? That one just flew by. I guess, in some ways, that's a good thing.

We had a fabulous weekend. I spent part of my Friday night at a Silpada jewelry party. I had never been to one before and if you like jewelry, they have some beautiful pieces. I ended up getting a really pretty silver and garnet ring. Very fun. Then I went to a basketball game in which 3 of my nephews played. Since there are only a couple more home games and we've been to zero so far this season, I thought it best to go to one soon. The game was fun, my nephews played very well, and their team won. Yea!

Saturday was spent doing laundry, cleaning and knitting. A friend of mine admired a hat that I made for L so I told him I would make one for his son. I finished it although it took some creative stitching to get it right. It's not perfect but nothing home made is supposed to be. I wish I could say something fabulous happened during the day but it was pretty boring, doing general house work.

Then came Saturday night. S's parents are back in town and offered to keep our kids while we went out in celebration of our anniversary (which was yesterday). Then they suggested that the girls even spend the night so we only had H to deal with Sunday morning. We decided to go to a restaurant that is about 45 minutes away but it was totally worth it. Wonderful French food and fabulous wine. We had been there before when I was pregnant with L so this was the first time I had gotten to enjoy some good wine with the fabulous food. It was a great evening.

We spent yesterday afternoon at S's parents' house, trying to fix their computer. By the time we got home, after playing dominoes and getting help from Gran to fix my knitting, we were all exhausted. We watched the Super Bowl, the only time I actually watch pro football, and collapsed into the bed. I wasn't ready to get up this morning but children needed breakfast and a ride to school. Those kids will get you every time!

So how was your weekend?

Saturday, February 2, 2008

H is 9 Months Old!

I know I say this every time but I truly can't believe he's 9 months old already! He's getting so big (21.5 pounds) and changing so much. I love his age as he's sitting on his own but not crawling just yet. He really wants to but just can't seem to get things going. He's definitely a Mama's boy and makes me smile all the time. He's way more interested in table food than that horrible baby food which is funny to me. He sees what we eat and wants that, not what I'm actually feeding him. He likes just about everything I put in his mouth. I'm convinced that he has just one look when I take his picture. I have about 100 pictures of him making the exact same face.

He is a joy to have around and I can't wait to see what he'll do in this next month. It won't be long before we're celebrating his first birthday!

Pictures, Finally!

L getting ready to go to a ballerina birthday party. I took some pictures of K as well but she wasn't very happy about having her picture taken.
L and H standing at the window in our bedroom. It's frightening to think that he'll be standing on his own very soon.
K, being silly as always
Daddy and his girls on his birthday